Treat Yo' Self Girl: 5 Pillars to Maintaining Friendships
Mr. West and myself have a question for you: How many of us are real friends? Every individual relationship we have with those that come in, and sometimes, out of our lives is important. People that are brought into our lives, usually teach us something and/or help us grow in our journey to becoming the fabulous beauty that we were ordained to be.
But one certain relationship is usually overlooked as far as knowing how to maintain such, and that is what we all know as friendship.
Our generation has this crazy obsession with being a loner and evidently not needing anyone outside of family, to have a presence in our lives.
It's now cool to not have friends. But why? Granted, in our mid twenties, leading up to our thirties and beyond, our social circle does decrease as opposed to our teenaged days, but that doesn't mean we don't need ANY friends whatsoever. If anything, strong friendships are more beneficial than we care to acknowledge, and it's vital that we all know how to be a good friend and also surround ourselves with people that deserve to be called a friend.
I now present to you: The 5 Pillars to Maintaining Friendships. Yee!
1. Make the Effort
Yes, just like a romantic relationship, a friendship worth having takes work and effort. There is no point in calling someone a friend if you, or said person are lazy about living up to that title. Even if your best friend or someone that you consider a good friend don't live in the same state, that's okay. You can be a good friend from afar. Technology has made it impossible for anyone to not have contact with someone, unless they're off the grid of course, so there's no excuse.
Along with your career/school, "you time", relationship, family relationships, and anything else that demands your time and attention, you have to learn to balance your friendships as well. Not saying you have to have a two hour phone convo with everyone you call a friend every single day, because nobody has time for that, but make the effort in checking up on your buddy, asking them whats new and exciting in their life, ya know...actually show that you give a hoot! All of that can be accomplished by sending a text, or even hitting your sista friend up on Facebook (the place for friends), or any social media outlet you may have, and see what's new.
A great majority of my good friends are out of state, and I understand many of them are busy with life, as am I, therefore I take the time to plan a trip to see some of them or vice versa. So yes, if you plan on doing this, that requires saving money and making sure everyone's schedule is aligned accordingly. Effort.
If you have the luxury of having your friend in the same city/state as you (yay!), make time to hang out with them, do activities together that are fun, new and exhilarating.
Too many times have I seen someone with suicidal thoughts or read a story on a poor soul who has taken their own life, because they felt lonely due to lack of communication with those that were supposed to be their friend. Often times, when someone has succeeded in committing suicide, that's when people who were supposed to be a shoulder to lean on, begin to care, and are left confused as to why that person felt so alone. Being a friend comes with great responsibility. It's not always about you and what you can get out of a friendship. Take 50%, give 50%.
2.Support Each Other
I've never had a friendship that lasted where I wasn't receiving any support in my life endeavors or needed someone to vent, or confide in with no judgment from someone I called a friend. Support. Is. Everything. If you don't have that support system or you aren't providing that support to a pal of yours, you need to rethink some things girl.
Along with your mate, and your family members, your friends should be your number one fan. Not only that, but they should also be the one to get you in formation when you're trippin' or are about to make a grave mistake that could mess with your future.
Alongside life just being sh*t sometimes, you'll see where you stand with certain people in your life, when your career path(s) begins to make a shift. Starting a business but your friends don't at LEAST promote said business whatsoever? Might need to cut that tie loose chica. Had a job interview for a position you've been praying for and none of your friends ask how it went or even think to ask if you got the job? Hmmm, ponder on that. It's easy to think we have friends who care when it comes to a new beau, because let's just be honest, as women, we love hearing about the love life, but it's the career path(s) ups and downs that let you know who will be there until the wheels fall off.
3. Beware of The Plastics
Girl, nobody and I mean NOBODY has time to have a Regina George and 'em in their life. Fake friends, or what many of us know as "frenemies", take up too much energy that could be put into a more positive aspect in your life. The teenaged, high school drama was cute (barely) and entertaining...in high school but it's time to grow up.
Someone who claims they're your friend, but stays with the negativity about everything you do in YOUR life, intentionally steers you to make bad decisions in efforts to ridicule you, talks behind your back to anyone who is willing to listen, or is just an all around messy and petty individual, is not a friend. You know I'm big on positive vibes, and if that "girlfriend" is not bringing such on her way into your circle, gladly point her to the nearest exit, because no, no and hell no.
Keep the Messy Minajes and the Petty LaBelles OUT ya life!
4. Separate Associates & Co-Workers From Friends
Many people do not know how to keep certain people in certain social circles. It's easier than you think and will save you a lot of headaches when you learn to differentiate an associate, and a co-worker from a friend.
There is no rule that says you have to have one, great big circle of friends, so refrain from that mentality. You can have as many social circles as you see fit darling.
An associate is someone you usually have a good time with, and that's about it. This girlie is the one you usually text once in awhile to say "hey girl hey", go out for a drink with if either of you make time to actually get around to doing so, and you know not too much, but just enough about this person. In other terms, the associate is invited to your wedding (maybe just the reception), but they'll never be a bridesmaid, and honestly, they probably don't want to be.
Co-workers are not your friends. At all. And yes, there are special cases where a co-worker can turn into a good friend of yours, but that usually happens after one of you has stopped working at the same establishment. There is such thing as a "work friend", and that term is literally what it says: He/she is your friend...AT WORK.
A work friend is someone you catch lunch with Monday-Friday, the person you joke with about your boss, the one of few that you can actually tolerate in the work place, the saving grace that keeps you sane during the 9-5 hours, and they're the person you cling to during work outings. What you must remember beauty, is that your co-worker is still in the same business as you and they have their career interests at heart, which is why they're in the same place as you. At the end of the day, the co-worker still has potential to be your competition if need be.
Associates and co-workers do not have to be put into the friend circle girl. I repeat, associates and co-workers do not have to be put into the friend circle.
5. Lock Up the Secrets
Zip it, be quiet, be still, hush chile. It can be quite frustrating to have the one friend that cannot hold water if her life depended on it. When one of your sista friends tells you something in confidence, it is not your duty to go and tell it to your best friend, even if you know your bff won't repeat what she heard to someone else...or will she? That's a risk and taking that risk could result in someone slipping up and you being labeled as a gossiper.
I think we all have a little bit of a tea spiller in us, but we must learn to rid that tiny truth about us and be a ear that only listens and not a mouth that speaks when it comes to other people's business.
If someone is trusting you enough to confide in you, take that trust as an honor and keep that secret or confession between you and God. Be like a priest after a confessional session and remain silent. Unless that secret your friend told you has the potential to be harmful to them, lock it up.
Real friends are a wonderful side dish to have on our plate of life. Be a real friend, surround yourself with real friends and you will find that your journey is a little bit easier when you do so. ;-)
TREAT YO'SELF GIRL AND STAY BEAUTIFUL